Apple’s 10th generation iPad is a great package. It remains better than most of the best Android tablets and it’s likely to be supported by iPadOS for some years to come.
With features reminiscent of the previous budget iPad, the newest Apple iPad 10th gen sits towards the lower end of the iPad range. Considering Apple has kept the 10.2-inch iPad 9 from 2021 around and raised the price this year, this is no longer the true budget iPad.
Despite a lot of improvements, there are also a few baffling choices with the latest iPad.
Apple 10th Generation iPad – Pros
- A major upgrade has been made to the design specifically with charging with the USB-C cable
- When it comes to convenience, the new charger is in a class of its own.
- Software and apps designed specifically for tablets
Apple 10th Generation iPad – Cons
- Apple’s iPad range is confusing because of inflation, especially in Europe
- The Apple Pencil is oddly placed.
- There’s no need for 64GB, the 256GB is over-the-top
In 2018 Apple introduced a more modern design change in its tablet line with the iPad Pro, and now the standard iPad has been updated to match. This model features flat sides and a flat back, a biometrically-skilled power key instead of the touch ID home button, and a slimmer bezel surrounding the larger 10.9-inch display.
The bezel around the display is still pretty chunky, which at least provides finger and thumb rests. Apple might claim this is an ‘all screen’ design, but it isn’t.
In spite of its iconic design, the iPad 9 was starting to feel a little stale after barely changing in a few years. I think it’s a welcome change. In addition to looking more modern with this facelift, the iPad 10 packs a larger display into a body that’s slimmer and slightly wider, while also weighting only 10 grams.
A review of the iPad Air earlier this year showed it made creaking noises, which indicated a less-than-stellar build quality. With the iPad 10th generation, the build quality is much better, and it’s stiff and sturdy even when pressure is applied.
Also included in the redesign are some other mod-cons. In order to charge and transfer data, USB-C replaces the Lightning port – as it is likely to do on the iPhone 15. The iPad can be charged at a faster rate, but you can also use the same charger to charge it up like a recent MacBook. It is also easy to attach SD card dongles and HDMI ports.
This iPad Pro has a Smart Connector on the side rather than the back, as on the iPad Air and iPad Pro, and good speakers on both ends. Touch ID is integrated into the power key so opening and unlocking it is seamless.
The 3.5mm jack on the iPad is being removed, a move I bemoan on a device aimed at kids and students without wireless earbuds. However, Apple is determined to eliminate the port from all devices, so its time on the iPad was always limited.
As far as colours are concerned, the tablet is geared toward fun people. In contrast to the Pro’s grey and lighter gray options, the Air’s pastel tones and the iPad 10th gen’s vibrant, saturated tones, both of which are moody (I’d say ‘boring’). It really stands out with the yellow and pink options, while the blue is a bit darker than the darker tone on the iPad Air. Silver is also available if you want something safer, but not black.
In terms of display improvements, the iPad 10th gen is slightly bigger than its previous make and its packing a higher resolution of 2360 x 1640.
Despite its appearance, it doesn’t have the same color gamut as the iPad Air, which allows movies to have more depth of color.
Additionally, there is no anti-reflective coating, which is extremely noticeable in bright conditions, and the display is not laminated to the outer glass, which leaves a slight but noticeable gap between the two.
It is understandable that these sacrifices are made on the lower-end iPad (and they were easier to forgive when the tablet was around the £300 mark) but they do make the screen among the least appealing.
Although it isn’t quite as bright as the iPad Air, it’s still a good display for reading, watching movies, or playing games. It is claimed to have a maximum brightness of 500 nits, whose brightness matches my lab tests, as well as a sharp resolution and detailed display, as well as being responsive to both Apple Pencils and fingers.
The performance of the iPad 10th gen is satisfactory, and it matches expectations at this price point. If you’re coming from an iPad 9 or iPad 8, you’ll notice a significant upgrade, but the Apple A14 Bionic chip means you won’t have to deal with poor gaming performance.
As compared to the previous iPad, gaming performance has actually been significantly improved, thanks to the beefier processor. If you’re editing videos, this machine is perfectly capable of doing that too, so you’ll get faster export times. It also comes with 4GB RAM instead of 3GB, which is a nice increase.
Apple’s reduced storage options are still a work in progress. 64GB is the only option available, and I think most people should be able to get by with 16GB.
If you live in the cloud and are always connected, it might be fine, but for others who may be a little less connected, that’s not the case. If you download some iTunes movies and install a few games, you’ll already be there. In order to upgrade from 64GB to 256GB, The additional cost of this is either £180, or €200.
In addition to 5G support, there is Wi-Fi 6 and although its not 6E, you can still connect away from Wi-Fi.
As far as the camera, Apple cleverly repositioned the front camera from the short edge to the long edge, so it faces directly at you when the tablet is landscape oriented.
Video calls and capturing pictures are relatively easy, which many prefer more than Apple’s MacBook line or Studio Display. It has an impressive 12MP rear camera, which captures images well in good light. There is a 4K 60 video capability, too.
There are loads of exceptional apps available for this iPad, many of which are made specifically for the screen size. However you also do have the Stage Manager feature, which allows apps and windows to be resized.
Folio for Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil
It is the accessories that have been made with this iPad that have been the most odd.
Apple Pencil and the iPad 10th gen come with an excellent, but pricey, new two-part folio keyboard.
In terms of technology, the first Apple Pencil is the same inside as the successor, turning it into a digital notebook and sketchbook allowing it to be more than a replacement for a laptop.
A USB-C cable and an adapter are now needed to connect the Apple Pencil to the iPad in order to charge it wirelessly, rather than just adding support for the newer Apple Pencil 2.
As an optional accessory, you can turn your iPad into something similar to a Microsoft Surface with the Magic Keyboard Folio. In terms of price, it isn’t too far off the price of the iPad 9, which launches in 2021. However, I really like it and think it is better than the Magic Keyboard on the iPad Air and iPad Pro in some ways.
In addition to detaching the keyboard, you can also use the back cover, which is equipped with a kickstand, to prop up the iPad to watch a movie or take a video call. The keyboard itself is great to type on, as it has plenty of travel and spaced out keys. The keyboard even has shortcut keys, which the Magic Keyboard lacks.
The Magic Keyboard lacks a backlight and it lacks a USB-C port for charging, so it’s not ideal for using on a lap like the Magic Keyboard.
Time between charges
Using USB-C charging makes for faster charging, so that means a pro, an air, or this base model on iPads all have similar battery life. The iPad Mini 5 only stands out as having inferior endurance. There’s also a nice braided USB-C cable and a 20w charger included (which offer lightning quick charge times).
If you watch video on loop for a prolonged period of time, you’re usually going to exceed Apple’s 10-hour battery claim.
As Apple positions this machine as an ideal small laptop replacement when it comes with the folio keyboard, I put that to the test by using it to do as many tasks as possible instead of a laptop. I don’t think many people will be able to drain it in one session after a typical day – the battery was left with more than 50% left after a typical day.
There are definitely pro’s for the iPad 10th generation, but it is not flawless. Its screen is good, its performances are good, and its upgrades are noticeable, but as a result of the price increase, this no longer feels like a budget iPad. In the UK, you will have to pay £1067 for 256GB iPad, Magic Keyboard Folio, and Apple Pencil – higher than the MacBook Air M1.
It’s also worth mentioning that those who are considering this iPad should also consider the iPad Air. The 2022 version can be purchased often for around £570, while the 2020 model often sells for under £500. In the US, the price jump between generations isn’t as large, with the 10th generation starting at and the previous generation at .
Apple’s 10th generation iPad is a great package if you’re willing to pay their $199 price tag. It remains better than most of the best Android tablets thanks to its excellent app ecosystem, and it’s likely to be supported by iPadOS for some years to come. Despite being a bit pricey, it is still a high quality device.